A CHEGUTU rape victim has set a new precedent after she sued government for failing to prevent and terminate her pregnancy, leading to the birth of her “unwanted child”.
REPORT BY CHARLES LAITON
The woman (name withheld) recently took her case to the Supreme Court seeking an order compelling the government to pay maintenance for her seven-year-old child fathered by armed robbers who sexually abused her at her Chegutu home in 2006.
In her appeal, the woman cited Home Affairs, Health and Child Welfare and Justice and Legal Affairs ministers as respondents.
However, State lawyer Advocate Thabani Mpofu dismissed the claims arguing that the ministries cited as respondents in the matter had no obligation to withdraw her assailant’s sperms when the woman was raped.
“The police have no obligation to draw sperms or assist in the process of their withdrawal. Applicant purports to talk about negligence where she sets out no legal basis. For instance, police have no obligation to bandage a victim of assault, but their constitutional obligation is to bring perpetrators to book,” Mpofu said.
In her submission through Harare lawyer Isaiah Mureriwa, the woman said the cited ministries contributed to the negligence that led to the birth of the child after failing to take measures to prevent the pregnancy.
The rape victim said the police, the doctor and the magistrate who handled her matter when she fell victim to the sexual attack, all acted negligently resulting in the birth of her child.
After being raped, the woman reported the matter to police and expected the officers to provide her with necessary documentation to take to hospital for termination of the pregnancy, but that was not done. She later gave birth in December 2006.
“The financial consequences are what the applicant is seeking in this court as the only remedy to the situation,” Mureriwa said.
The lawyer further challenged the use of the term “terminate” arguing his client sought the “prevention” of pregnancy soon after the offence was committed as opposed to seeking termination.
Justices Paddington Garwe, Anne-Mary Gowora and Barat Patel reserved judgment in the matter.